By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – Danica Rowan, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter for the Thatcher volleyball team, will continue her passion for the sport by playing for Division I University of New Mexico (UNM) Lobos next season.
Flanked by family on Friday at Thatcher High School as she signed her National Letter of Intent to play for the Lobos, Rowan reminisced of her love for the game.
“I’ve been playing volleyball since I could walk,” she said. “I love everything about it.”
She said a recruiting trip to the school in Albuquerque went so well that it sealed the deal for her and that she found the school to which she wanted to dedicate her time and talents.
“Everything just felt right,” she said. “I love the team, I love the coaches, I just love everything about it . . . It’s a dream come true. I’ve always looked forward to doing this ever since I was a little girl and this day is one I’ll remember.”
Rowan’s father, Pat Rowan, beamed with pride when speaking about his daughter’s accomplishment.
“She always said that she was going to play Division I volleyball and she just worked real hard at it and had great coaching and is fulfilling a dream,” Pat said. “The family is just happy for her being able to accomplish this and we wish her the best.”
Danica lettered all four years of high school in both volleyball and basketball and was a member of Thatcher’s back-to-back state championship teams in 2014 and 2015 as well as its 2A East Conference Champion team last year. She was named All-Conference Player of the Year in 2016, marking the third straight year she was recognized on the all-division team.
“She (Danica) has worked really, really hard,” said Thatcher volleyball coach Ellen Robertson. “I’m excited for her because to move onto the next level is exciting; it’s fun. It’s an adventure and it makes all the time and money and sweat and tears that she’s put in the last four years in high school worth it, and I wish her the best.
The Rowan family is no stranger to college athletics as Pat played football for Eastern Arizona College (EAC) and her mother, Dawnette Rowan, played both basketball and volleyball for the Gila Monsters. Older sisters, Katelynn Rowan and Madison Lewis also played for EAC.
“When I was in high school she was in elementary school and when we would wait for the bus she would always ask me, ‘Can we pepper? Can we pepper?’ We would just be outside in the breezeway playing volleyball every morning, so she’s been dedicated for a really long time,” Lewis said.
Danica reports to the UNM at the end of June and will begin with the team July 1, according to Pat. The Lobos open their season against Nebraska Omaha on August 25 in Ames, Iowa as the start of the three-day Iowa State Tournament.
Danica encourages other student athletes to work hard and always strive to do their best in the classroom and athletic field to achieve success.
“Never give up on your dream,” she said.